Summer “Vacation”

Ah, June and July.  The two months when I don’t have to think about school.

Except that my brain won’t stop.

During the first few weeks of June, I was furiously reading books to see what I might want to teach in my new Honors English class.  Now that I’ve got that roughly decided, my thoughts have turned toward planning and room decor.

Yesterday, I picked up school supplies, reviewed and revised my year-long plans for each class, and spent way too much time on Pinterest pinning teaching ideas.

Oh, I’m doing other things, too.  I pick raspberries, I check on the garden, I feed and water all our animals, I go for runs and bike rides, I knit, I take luxurious afternoon naps, I bake apple crisp.  But I’m also thinking of my classes and my kids much of the time.

I’m thinking about how I’ll have them take notes this year.  (I had them use three-ring binders last year and I hated it.  The binders were too big and they took up too much space in my room.  Their size made them intimidating to grade, so I never did notebook checks.  Kids always complained that they ran out of paper.  It was horrendous.)  This year, I’ll use composition notebooks for notes, plus a color-coding system for categories.  I keep seeing things on Pinterest about interactive notebooks, with little folding Post-It notes and such.  But I’ll hold off on that until later; I need to get my color-coding system worked out first, and make sure that much functions well.

I’m thinking about how much and how often to have students write and give speeches, and how to get them to proofread and revise their writing before they turn it in and how to get them to actually look at my comments.  Oh, and how to spend less time grading writing.  And how to have students give speeches without losing a week (and all my brain cells) doing nothing but presentations.

Bulletin boards, parent newsletters, reader response journals, writers’ workshops, differentiated grammar lessons — all these things swirl around in my mind.

I’d like to take the summer off, truly.  But my brain won’t let me.

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